May 21, 2003


Picture yourself in South Park. (From the Weevil).

Posted by BruceR at 05:39 PM


A brilliant obit today by Patrick Carr for country music icon June Carter Cash. I'm not a big fan of country music, for the most part, but I defy anyone to listen to June's two brilliant growling-spitfire duets with Johnny on the Folsom Prison and San Quentin albums ("Jackson" and "Darlin' Companion") and NOT want to sleep with their singer. As a boy, Johnny reportedly swore he would marry her at first sight... he had to wait for a few marriages to fail, of course, but he lucked out in the end. I've always envied what they so obviously had together: it was always one of my own models for the perfect marriage.

Posted by BruceR at 01:23 PM


God, I wish John Kampfner was a better journalist. He had some dynamite stuff, and tarnished it with his unnecessary Lynch addons and innuendo. Reading his solo piece in the Guardian, it's clear that everything that's been said about him personally is more or less on target. And yet he still had some great quotes to work with:

[Tony Blair's PR advisor] Wren yesterday described the Lynch incident as "hugely overblown" and symptomatic of a bigger problem. "The Americans never got out there and explained what was going on in the war," he said. "All they needed to be was open and honest. They were too vague, too scared of engaging with the media." He said US journalists "did not put them under pressure".

Wren, who had been seconded to the Ministry of Defence, said he tried on several occasions to persuade [American PR heads] Wilkinson and Brooks to change tack. In London, [government PR head Alistair] Campbell did the same with the White House, to no avail. "The American media didn't put them under pressure so they were allowed to get away with it," Wren said. "They didn't feel they needed to change."

In another context, that would have been absolute gold. When the PR history of this war is written, Kampfner will certainly make the bibliography, regardless, now. But at the same time, you get crap like this:

Releasing its five-minute film to the networks, the Pentagon claimed that Lynch had stab and bullet wounds, and that she had been slapped about on her hospital bed and interrogated.

There were, obviously, no such official claims. Bill Herbert's right to be angry at that stuff.

So basically, you now have three versions of the Lynch revisionist story: the original Potter-Gilmore print story (still standing, pretty much); the Gilmore-Kampfner BBC documentary and its internet summary on the BBC site (shaky on the Lynch stuff, but otherwise still valuable); and Kampfner solo, apparently unchecked by editors or good news judgment, writing in the Guardian (crap, for the most part). The trick, as with all bad journalists, is that it's impossible to defend the good parts of this without making it sound like I also support the garbage.

UPDATE: In Kampfner's defence, here's a fairly complete version of the Post story that started it all. (The original on the Post site has, uncharacteristically for that paper, been pulled completely from public view.) You can decide for yourself how much Kampfner distorts the truth on the "Pentagon claims."

Posted by BruceR at 12:14 PM